Turn Not from It! #8

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Second Peter chapter 2: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Whether Old Testament Israel, future Israel, or even the present time, Satan’s preachers always labor!

As today’s Scripture indicates, spiritual prosperity is achieved only when we follow the doctrinal path Almighty God has laid out for us. Israel would suffer tremendously if she drifted from the Law of Moses. Once Joshua died, the Jews waxed worse and worse. The Old Testament record abounds with a myriad of resultant tragedies—civil wars, collapse of family, droughts and famines, Gentile oppression, plagues and diseases, poverty, death, and so on. All these unfortunate situations were because Israel failed to maintain sound Bible doctrine.

Romans chapter 16: “[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Here is the Holy Spirit’s warning to us the Church the Body of Christ. People will use false doctrine to split local churches and cause saints to stumble. Their main perversion is stressing Law and ignoring Grace (Romans 6:14,15). Mixing God’s Word and will for us, with God’s Word and will for Israel, is sure to bring spiritual ruin. Therefore, follow Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Turn not from the rightly divided Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!

Turn Not from It! #7

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Go now to Deuteronomy chapter 13: “[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

“[4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust [throw, force!] thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

Whatever Satan used to deceive Israel long ago would certainly be profitable to him today: he still uses counterfeit (false) teaching to distract and divide God’s people. In Deuteronomy, the LORD warned Israel not to be led astray by any “miracle worker.” Even if an “inexplicable” or “supernatural” demonstration was involved, the underlying thought itself was a lie, so that teacher or preacher was to be executed by stoning! He or she was “seducing” Israel, drawing the nation away from God’s revelation to the Jews (see verse 5). Even now, such individuals still seek to “turn [us] away from the LORD [our] God.” Brethren, we should therefore be wary….

Turn Not from It! #6

Monday, July 6, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Consider the warnings the Holy Spirit through Paul issued to the church leaders of Ephesus. Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace [!], which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The most spiritually lethal aspect of Satan’s policy of evil concerns religious perversion. Individuals—whether willingly or inadvertently makes no difference—continuously entice us to abandon the Message of Grace because they favor the Law!! Church leaders should thus guard their congregations by stressing grace teaching. Sadly, as Paul pointed out, those very people are usually the ones guilty of introducing and disseminating the heresy! Furthermore, multitudes within the churches are eagerly deceived and ruined thereby.

Second Timothy chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Let us “take heed” too….

A Lost Generation! #9

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Concerning the nation Israel after Jesus Christ finished His earthly ministry and His 12 Apostles undertook their ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” No longer was Israel “lost!”

As touching formerly pagan Gentiles, now members of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” No longer were these Gentiles “lost!”

Provided each “lost” generation of every moment in human history believes God’s Word to and about it, it can be a found generation. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

A Cooperation, Not a Competition!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV).

Remember, ministry is a cooperation not a competition!

What is ministry to us? Is it our excuse to “outdo” others? Look at all the “bestsellers” I have written! Notice how many countries I have visited! See how often I pray and study! Look at how much I give in the collection plate! Notice how I am “more spiritual!” Such is but fleshly idiocy! As the human body is a network of cells all cooperating to cause every limb and organ to function as one unit, so the Holy Spirit works in each and every member of the Church the Body of Christ to accomplish His will. He really does not need us, but He in His grace has invited us to participate in His work. First Corinthians chapter 12: “[11] But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. [12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[5] Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. [8] Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. [9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. [10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

Brethren, let us all labor to build sound Bible doctrine in each other, as opposed to rivaling each other! 🙂

Careful—But Not Careful! #11

Friday, April 17, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Satan cannot harm the Lord Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, he can do the next best thing—harm us, the Church that is His Body. We Christians are at war! Consider Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 10 now: “[3] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: [4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;….”

The evil world system attacks us internally—mentally. Just as in a physical battle, there are injuries and casualties. Usually, Christians are not thinking as their Heavenly Father designed them. They are not renewing their minds with His Word rightly divided. Hence, their Christian lives are functioning improperly—if at all. Romans chapter 12 reminds us: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Instead of wasting our time with human wisdom, we enjoy God’s peace that exceeds human understanding. We “mind [think about] the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). Consequently, our Heavenly Father “shall keep [guard, protect from Satan’s assaults] [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We have victory with God’s power, and we have God’s power when we arm ourselves with His words to us….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was ‘Caesar?’

Careful—But Not Careful! #10

Thursday, April 16, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Human nature is weak. While we in our sinfulness like to think of ourselves as “gods”—independent, self-reliant, self-sustaining—we know deep down inside we are but feeble creatures. Once disaster strikes, we are jolted out of our fantasy world and have no choice but to see our many limitations. When there is no more strength and health in our physical bodies, no longer money in our bank account, and so on, then we realize we have to look beyond ourselves for stability and security. It is time to set our focus on something outside of this time-space continuum!

As Christians, we are absolutely not immune to suffering. Just like they trouble lost people, economic downturns, physical illness, natural disasters, and other traumatic experiences eventually affect us all. While our lot is the same, our response should be different. Whereas non-Christians have no personal relationship with the one true God, we do. In prayer, we may freely come to Him with our worries and give them to Him instead of carrying them around.

“What is happening? Where is God? What have I done wrong? Why me? What does the future hold? Will this ever end? How will I escape?” As opposed to such nagging questions besetting or overcoming us, we have “the peace of God” (today’s Scripture). That is because we read His Word rightly divided first, and then spoke to Him concerning our circumstances in accordance with that Word. Prayer underpins in our hearts and minds what we already know He said. We already know exactly what the future ultimately holds. We already know exactly where the Lord is. We already know precisely what He is doing. The Holy Spirit used Pauline doctrine to show us!

Instead of approaching our dire situations and circumstances with human wisdom, we encounter them having “the peace of God.” It is here that inner tranquility—that “which passeth all understanding,” an attitude beyond human description—becomes ours….

Careful—But Not Careful! #8

Saturday, April 4, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Prayer is the means whereby we express to Almighty God our understanding of His Word to us. However, when we listen to people pray, it is abundantly clear they have little to no understanding of the rightly-divided Scriptures. They are fervent in wanting to talk to God, and they want Him to give an ear to their words, but they have not been diligent in looking in the Bible and listening to what He has already said to them.

But, why would God care to hear us repeat to Him what He already told us? Does He not already know His own words to us? Indeed, He does. But, do we know His words to us? Prayer is not for God’s benefit but ours. We are giving the indwelling Holy Spirit opportunity to reinforce in our minds what we have read in Scripture earlier (after all, we did read it, yes?). Here is how prayer should work, how it was designed to work—but often does not function like that because we are too busy talking when we should have been listening to the Scriptures first.

The God of the Bible is not stingy or apathetic. He already knows what we need, and He is willing to provide it. When today’s Scripture says, “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” it means we should pray in all circumstances (not just trials). “Prayer” is the general term for speaking to God in light of His words to us. “Supplications” (Latin, “supplicare”—“plead humbly”) are our asking Him to work concerning a particular matter. “Thanksgiving” is critical: He may not give us what we want but we can be absolutely sure He will furnish us with what we truly need. “Requests” are general, we asking Him to do what we need Him to do. Again, this is not for His benefit but our own….

Perfect Peace #3

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Israel will learn she cannot in and of herself be victorious over this evil world system. Her believing remnant must wait for Jesus Christ’s ultimate deliverance at His Second Coming. Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. [3] But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. [4] Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.[34] Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. [35] O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”

The Holy Spirit, moving the Prophet Isaiah, is looking down through time—at least 2,700 years—to see Israel’s Little Flock at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Preparing to enter the Millennium, they are rejoicing. The LORD God has brought them through their horrendous suffering. By reading and trusting their prophetic promises in Scripture, they have been kept safe! Walking by faith in Isaiah, the Book that spoke of both their tribulation and their kingdom, they knew that, no matter what, they would survive to see His earthly kingdom. God was faithful!

Likewise, brethren, regardless of our struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties in this life, we already know our final destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ remains unchanged! Our eternal future is certain; thus, our temporary trials are certainly bearable (1 Corinthians 10:13). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). Enjoy that “perfect peace!” 🙂

To Pray a Better Way #10

Saturday, March 7, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Father God “searcheth [investigates, looks into] the hearts;” He is aware of “the mind of the Spirit” (today’s Scripture). The Holy Spirit works in us by activating His inspired words that we have read and believed rightly divided. Consequently, we can pray in agreement with Father God’s current will. The Holy Spirit uses sound Bible doctrine to work in the grace saint as that child of God prays with a heart of faith. He enlightens the believer’s understanding, so that saint not only perceives God’s will for the present age, but can also pray accordingly. Unlike in religion, in the Bible, the Christian is not left clueless, wondering how to pray!

Provided we are aware of “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2)—the doctrine outlined in Paul’s Epistles, Romans through Philemon—then we will not be disappointed with “unanswered prayer.” We cannot make God do something He is not doing. If the content of our prayers conflicts with Pauline doctrine, then displeasure and doubt will constantly beset us. Praying like a saint in Israel’s prophetic program, will get us nowhere because we are the Church the Body of Christ and we are in the mystery program. We cannot take Israel’s verses, assume God will respond that way, and then complain He “lied” when our expectations are not met. Indeed, non-dispensational prayer is more harmful than no prayer!

Saints, if we have any hope in the world of praying effectually, we must let God speak first. He has already spoken in Paul’s Epistles. Have we listened to Him before asking Him to listen to us? Or, are we operating in unbelief, naming and claiming non-Pauline Bible passages as though they are to and about us? Articulating dispensationally-correct prayers is to pray a better way! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘Scythians’ and the ‘Barbarians?’